The Curse of Finishing Second (and Five Habits of Happy High-Achievers)

After finishing third in the men’s 100 meter race at the Rio Olympics this week, bronze medalist Andre de Grasse excitedly embraced Usain Bolt, who had taken the gold. While Andre and Usain were hugging it up, silver medalist Justin Gatlin looked less than thrilled, lost, no doubt, in counterfactual thought about “what might have been.” As Seinfeld points out, “If you win the gold, you feel good. If you win the bronze, you think, well, at least I got something. But if […]

Are You Leveraging the Power of Curiosity?

My dad likes to tell this story from my childhood: I was three years old, we were eating dinner and my mom chastised me for chewing with my mouth open, saying “That’s how pigs eat.” My immediate response: “Do cows do it too?” Apparently, I’ve always been curious about behavior, bovine and otherwise.  Over the years, living in Japan and Europe and working in diverse company cultures, I’ve developed an endless fascination with understanding why humans behave the way they do […]

How To Feel (A Little) Better

Back in 2007, I went to a weekend marketing conference in Los Angeles. Every morning for three days, a group of 500 business owners gathered in the big hotel ballroom for a day of speaker presentations and panels. And every morning, an unbelievably cheery emcee came bounding out onto the stage, starting belting out some Broadway-style tune and then urged us to get up out of our seats and jump up and down, waving our arms in the air. Ugh. (Have […]

The Secret to Happiness (No, Really)

Recently, I was talking with an app developer and congratulating him for having hundreds of thousands of users. “No,” he said, shaking his head, “it doesn’t mean anything until you have a million users.” “Really?” I said, thinking I’d be pretty psyched if I had that many people on my mailing list. “But, in the meantime, you can be happy with the hundreds of thousands of users you have now.” He was not convinced. Ha, it’s easy to tell others […]

Are You Missing Out? How To Handle The Double-Edged Sword of Social Media

A pic of someone posing on a sunny beach, fervent opinions on the presidential election, updates on  wedding prep, kiddies looking adorable — just a typical glance at my Facebook feed. ON THE ONE HAND There’s so much that’s good about social media: It updates us on the lives of people that we care about but might otherwise not keep in close touch with, creates community and provides an easy forum for self-expression. In the aftermath of hurricanes and other […]

How To Make Reality Catch Up Faster

In the late 1970s, Jim Fannin was coaching Adriano Panatta, one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world and a former French Open champion. He tells the story of  Panatta’s quarterfinal match with one of the newcomers at an ATP tournament. “As the match unfolded, this low-ranked, left-handed, red-headed jerk of a guy has no respect for a top-ranked player in the world. He stalls. He berates an umpire. He yells at a ball kid. He crushes my player! We […]

What Is Flow Anyway?

You know that feeling when you’re so fully immersed in an activity — an engrossing conversation, say, or a riveting mystery novel, a challenging game of tennis — that you lose track of time, your self-consciousness falls away and life seems effortless? That’s being in the flow. It’s a phenomenon that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor and former chairman of the University of Chicago Department of Psychology, has spent over 20 years researching and views as the key to enhancing the […]

Why Not Sleep While You’re Still Alive

“Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed.” — Arthur Schopenhauer Here, in New York, where there’s a bravado culture — especially among lawyers and investment bankers — of who can survive on the least sleep, I’ve always felt a bit wimpy because I’ve always made sleep a priority […]